Wilting Pepper Plants

achill3s(9)July 13, 2009

I recently decided to start growing a container garden on my patio and most recently I have been having some issues with my pepper plants. Mostly my sweet pepper and chili pepper plants. They were doing great for such a long time and were beginning to produce peppers but now have begun to wilt. I checked the root structure and everything seems fine, I don't see any pest visibly in the soil or on the plant. Occasionally i do find some of the leave being chewed on but have remedied that with an insecticide/fungicide. I'm not quite sure what to do to save them. They seem to be getting plenty of water, but I'm not sure if its too much. I live in Florida and we did get a good amount of rain for about a week, but during the rain they flourished and i stopped watering them when the rain was here. Please help. The plants are in 3 quart plastic containers and seem to have plenty of drainage. The soil is pretty moist most of the time.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

First, the containers are very small. The only reason they would wilt is if the roots cannot supply water fast enough to meet the plant's transpirational needs. Barring toxins/herbicides, the three things that are most apt to cause this loss of turgidity are under-watering, over-watering (with accompanying root rot and or impaired root function due to lack of O2 in the root zone), or a high level of soluble salts in the soil solution (making it difficult for the plant to take up water - interferes with the osmotic process). You might as well give a look at high root temperatures as a 4th possibility.

Which is most likely? It would seem that perhaps the volume of soil you're using may not hold enough water to get you through a whole day, but you would be a better judge of that.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 9:02PM
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So would you suggest putting them into 5 gallon buckets? I did this with my tomatoes when they got to be big enough and it really seemed to help them. Also, what is the best soil for growing vegetables in containers? Does a mix of peat and soil work better is there something better than just the run of the mill soil one can purchase at a gardening store? This is my first time doing a container garden Florida. Also are there any house hold mixes that i can use to control pest or is it best to just get pesticides/fungicides at the store? Much appreciation for the help.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 9:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Ask 10 container gardeners off the street what the best soil is, and you'll get 10 different answers. The best soil is any soil that drains well (which means it holds lots of air) and will retain it's structure (and thus its drainage characteristics and aeration) for as long as you intend to keep the planting. It's up to you to figure out how to achieve that goal, but there is lots of help on this forum. If you read this posting about Container Soils, you'll have far fewer questions and at least a sense of direction when it comes to deciding what is/isn't an appropriate soil.

A mix of peat and topsoil/garden soil is more likely to yield a disaster than a satisfied grower.

In your approach to pest management it would be wise to make up your mind to live with a certain amount of predation on your veggies & flowers. Only when it gets bad, would you resort to control measures, unless you use something safe and prophylactically, like neem oil. Otherwise, you should be sure you identify the target pest, then use the least noxious method of bringing their numbers down to acceptable levels.

Fungaluglies are best controlled prophylactically. It's difficult to eradicate a fungal problem once it gets a foothold. Good husbandry and tidiness goes a long way toward controlling fungi.

Books are written on the subjects you asked for guidance on, so w/o more specific descriptions re what areas you need help in, additional info is more than likely just digression and like throwing info at the wall & hoping something sticks. ;o)


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:31PM
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I feel your pain about the wilting peppers. I am also in Florida and this hot summer has been a bit of a challenge for me too. We have a pretty large container garden around our pool. Send me an email if you would like to compare notes.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 1:57PM
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